The gunman who shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head and then unleashed a spray of bullets that killed six and wounded 12 others at a town hall event outside a Tucson, Ariz., grocery store may not have acted alone, authorities announced tonight.
"We are not convinced that [the gunman in custody] acted alone, there is some reason to believe he came to this location with another individual, and that individual is involved," Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said.
Police said a suspect was taken into custody, and Dupnik described the alleged shooter as mentally unstable. Though the sheriff did not name the suspect, he was identified by multiple law enforcement sources as Jared Lee Loughner, 22.
Dupnik declined to provide more information on the second individual who he would only describe as "white" and "in his 50s." Authorities have photographs of the person of interest and are "actively pursuing him," the sheriff said. The congresswoman was the clear focus of the gunman's assault, Dupnik said. "He ran through the crowd and when he got to [Giffords] he just started shooting," the sheriff said. "The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately Arizona I think is the capital. We are the Mecca for prejudice for prejudice and bigotry," he said.
Dupnik said authorities are also investigating a suspicious package at one of Giffords' field offices in Tucson. Steven Rayle, who was at the scene, told ABC News that "another man went running off" after the shooting, but wasn't sure if he was involved. A total of 19 people were hit by gunfire during the shooting, which began just after 10 a.m. Six of the victims have died, according to Dupnik, and the remaining individuals are not believed to be in "life threatening situations."